Published March 2, 2009

How to Follow Up with Customers

As a small business owner, your sales process starts the minute a prospective customer first makes contact with you. But you might not always get the sale on the first try. And if a purchase is made, you also want to ensure that you get repeat business from each customer.

That's why your small business needs a salient customer follow up plan. Following up with customers is just as important as convincing them to purchase your products and services.

Try Different Methods of Routine Business Follow Up

You can follow up with customers using different methods of contact such as e-mail, sending postcards, flyers or greeting cards, or by simply using the telephone. Use these methods first, and observe which method generates the best results. That way, you can concentrate on that particular method.

If possible, enlist the help of professionals to design your greeting cards, letters & flyers to make them visually appealing. For routine customer follow ups, set a monthly target and execute it accordingly.

When it comes to following up with your customers, it pays to be consistent. This way, you ensure that your name and that of your business is always in the forefront of a customers' mind.

The more they hear the name of your business the greater the chances are that they will remember it. Once an inquiry is generated, then proceed to the following steps below.

Communicate

Once you have your prospective customers' details such as their demographic information, contact with them regarding their inquiry. Do not ask them directly for to make their purchasing decision immediately; rather, tactfully ask whether they require any additional information regarding your products or services.

Be pleasant when talking and answer their questions. Be direct and to the point. Your answers should be logical, but not overly technical. If you do not have the information on hand, then inform them that you will call back promptly.

In a business follow up, it is important to stand by your word. This will indicate that you have taken the matter seriously.

Arrange a Meeting

If you are expecting a large order, or if a customer has placed a custom order with you, then you can arrange a face-to-face meeting to discuss the matter. Take the best people from your sales team along with you to execute your presentation. You want to appear confident and competent.

Brief everyone involved well in advance of the meeting. Once the deal has been finalized, you can still follow up with the customer to get feedback about your products and post-sales services. Feedback is important for you to be able to fix any problems with your products or customer service.

You can also call all your prospective customers one at a time to arrange a sales conference. This type of meeting should also be advertised with both your customers and vendors to generate extra publicity. Remember than any new customers that obtained in this way should receive a personal follow up call.

Follow Up With Existing Clients

You should also follow up with your repeat clients by meeting with them if time permits or by sending them some sort of correspondence. Reaching out to them personally will indicate that you value them and their business. It will also help to prolong your business relationship with them. It is these customers whose word-of-mouth referrals can generate new clients for you.

The customer follow up process is a very important one in securing business from your new customers and in maintaining relationships with existing ones. Your diligence and perseverance in this area will determine how many new customers you can convert into loyal ones.